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Sunday, May 1, 2022

USTA Pro Circuit Titles for Townsend, Sock and Bangoura; Lee Wins IMG Future Stars Tournament; Costoulas and Nicod Earn Offenbach Grade A Championships; Michigan Men and Women Beat Ohio State to Capture Big Ten Conference Tournaments

The three USTA Pro Circuit tournaments this week all concluded today with American champions, with the trio of veterans making bids to regain their former heights in the ATP and WTA rankings.

Taylor Townsend, who is returning to competition after the birth of her son last spring, won the $100,000 tournament in Charleston South Carolina as a wild card. The 26-year-old left-hander, who was the ITF World Junior champion in 2012, defeated No. 5 seed Xiyu Wang of China, the 2018 US Open girls champion, 6-3, 6-2 in today's final. Townsend's ranking had fallen to 903 earlier this year, but three tournaments into her comeback she will move to around 321. Her career-high WTA ranking is 61, which she reached in 2018. Townsend is now in the running for USTA's Roland Garros wild card, which will be decided next week.

No. 4 seed Jack Sock defeated Christian Harrison 6-4, 6-1 in today's final of the ATP Challenger 80 in Savannah Georgia, collecting his second Challenger title in the past 11 months. The 29-year-old has worked his way back from a ranking of 273 in March of 2021 to 123 with this title, but he has a long way to go to return to his ATP career-high of 8, where he ended the year in 2017.

Former Florida Gator Sekou Bangoura won his second title in the past three weeks today at the $15,000 tournament in Vero Beach Florida, with the No. 3 seed defeating 18-year-old wild card Ethan Quinn 6-4, 6-3 in today's final. The 30-year-old from Florida, who won the singles title in Sunrise two weeks ago and the doubles title at Orange Park last week, beat five of the top American juniors in the past three weeks; his loss, in the first round at Orange Park, was to another top junior: Orange Bowl champion Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay. Bangoura is still outside the ATP Top 500 after struggling last year; his ATP career-high is 213, which came in 2016.

An American junior did claim a title this week in Vero Beach, with Nishesh Basavareddy winning his first professional title in doubles. The 16-year-old from Indiana and his partner Ricardo Rodriguez-Pace of Venezuela, wild card entries, defeated No. 2 seeds and University of Kentucky teammates Liam Draxl of Canada and Millen Hurrion of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3 in today's final. The pair did not drop a set in their four victories during the week.

The impressive results of former collegians on in ATP doubles competition continued this week, with former Mississippi State Nuno Borges of Portugal and former Auburn star Andreas Mies of Germany claiming titles in their home countries.

The 25-year-old Borges and his partner Francisco Cabral, also of Portugal, received a wild card into the ATP 250 in Estoril after tremendous success on the ATP Challenger Tour, which saw them win eight titles since the beginning of last year. This week, in their first ATP event, they beat the No. 3 seeds in the first round and top seeds Michael Venus(LSU) and Jamie Murray in the quarterfinals, before defeating the unseeded team of Andre Goransson(Cal) of Sweden and Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 6-2, 6-3 in the final. For more on their title, see this article from the ATP website.

In the singles final, 21-year-old Sebastian Baez of Argentina defeated No. 5 seed Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-2 to capture his first ATP title.

At the ATP 250 in Munich, the 31-year-old Mies and partner Kevin Krawietz, also of Germany, won their second consecutive title, after earning the title in Barcelona last week. Mies and Krawietz, the No. 3 seeds, defeated unseeded Rafael Matos of Brazil and David Vega Hernandez of Spain, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 to claim their sixth title as a team. For more on their title, see this article from the ATP website.

Wild card Holger Rune of Denmark, the former ITF Junior No. 1, won the singles title in Munich, his first on the ATP Tour. The 19-year-old, who beat top seed Alexander Zverev of Germany in the second round, didn't drop a set all week. Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands retired in the first set of today's final up 4-3.

Jordan Lee of Orlando Florida won the IMG Future Stars U12 tournament in Athens Greece today, beating Alexander Kunitsyn of Russia 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Lee, who turns 12 on Wednesday, didn't lose more than four games in any set of his five victories during the week.

Eleven-year-old Joyce Geng of Canada won the girls title, beating Ksenia Ruchkina of Russia 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

The New York Times' Matthew Futterman was in Athens for the event and wrote this article about IMG's strategy in organizing this tournament.

Top seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium swept the titles at the ITF Grade A in Offenbach Germany, running her ITF Junior Circuit winning streak to 16 matches. The Australian Open girls finalist won two ITF J1 titles last month and added her first JA title today, beating doubles partner and No. 2 seed Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2. In the doubles final later in the day, Costoulas and Havlickova, the No. 1 seeds, defeated unseeded Yu-Yun Li of Taiwan and Sara Saito of Japan 6-4, 6-4.

No. 12 seed Jakub Nicod of the Czech Republic won the boys title in Offenbach, defeating unseeded Pedro Rodenas of Spain 6-2 ,6-4 in the final. Nicod did not drop a set in his six wins, although he did receive two retirements. 

No. 2 seeds Coleman Wong of Hong Kong and Yaroslav Demin of Russia won the boys doubles title, beating top seeds Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland and Paul Inchauspe of France 6-4, 2-6, 10-6 in the final. 

After both suffered their only conference losses of the regular season to Ohio State, the second-seeded Michigan men and women got their revenge today in the Big Ten conference tournament finals against the top seeds. The Michigan women defeated the Buckeyes 4-0, while the Michigan men overcame the loss of the doubles point to beat Ohio State 4-2. It's the first conference tournament title in the history of the men's program. Tomorrow we'll find out what impact those wins might have on the seeding for the Division I NCAA team championships, with the selection show set for 6 p.m. for the men and 6:30 p.m. for the women at ncaa.com.